What is Warframe? It is a free to play third-person action game where you play as robot ninjas. In Space. It is fast-paced, full of action and even a bit stealthy. It is a cooperative game in groups of up to four where you infiltrate a location, pull off the job, and then get to teh extraction. You control the titular warframe, of which there are many. Each warframe has four unique abilities and can be armed with pistols, rifles, shotguns, katana among many other kinds of weapons.
Note, all screenshots will be taken from the official Steam webshots section.
Let’s start with the gameplay. It is solid and great. The entire game sort of reminds me of a greatly expanded Mass Effect 3 multiplayer. There are different classes (the warframes) and they can be equipped with a variety of different weaponry, one main weapon, one sidearm and one melee weapon. There are a lot of mods that can be equipped onto the warframes and the weapons that boost things like damage, health, life. Mods also do some more extravagant effects, such as increasing melee range, adding fire damage and so on.
The mod system is actually a bit complicated, and you need to be good at it to make powerful builds. A good amount of power comes from the mods and levelling them up to provide great bonuses. Even the warframe abilities are mods that you must equip before you can use it.
The actual missions have a wide array of objectives, but somehow, it all feels the same: go through the level while shooting all enemies in your way. The combat is good, however. The only thing is that guns take a bit long to reload, but shooting people is solid. Melee is pretty cool as well, though I find I have trouble aiming. It’s probably just me.
Each warframe also has 4 abilities that can be used. You need to limit their usage since energy spent on casting does not regenerate naturally. You will need to find energy orbs to gain more energy. This is also the same for health. The only thing that does regenerate is shields. This keeps the players from sitting around, waiting for things to come back. It keeps them on the move.
As robot ninjas, you have quite some cool movement options, some practical, some just for cool. Wall running and climbing helps you get to places. Sliding on the floor while shooting tends to be hard and mostly just for cool.
There are many different mission objectives, such as eliminate all the enemies, capture a specific target, sabotage things and a few others. Most of them feel the same, get in, shoot stuff, get out. You do have the option of trying to go stealthy, which makes it easier in general. For most missions, reinforcements won’t show up. Also, enemies will not be on alert, meaning you can move around easier. Getting spotted isn’t an automatic failure of stealth. Enemies will try to reach consoles around the level to alert the rest of the others. If you can kill them before they send the warning, you’ll be fine.
Also, most stages have a fair amount of randomization. This includes random enviromental stuff like being night at times or being too cold and having your shield value decreased by half.
Some levels are different from the usual go through the stage killing everything. There’s Defense, in which you must prevent an object from being destroyed and capture the points against the AI. These missions are generally harder because enemies come at you from all sides where you don’t have good cover.
Now, as a free to play game, they need to monetize somehow. They do that by putting pretty much everything behind a long and hard process of getting. Pay real money and get it instantly. Don’t, and you have to grind for a long time. Not to mention many rare materials don’t come until later, so you can get the blueprints to build stuff early, but you can’t build it until a long time later. Also, building things takes real time, usually 12 hours or more. You can build multiple things at once, however.
For an idea of costs, most expensive warframes cost about $20.00. Cheapest ones, of which there are 2, cost $5.00. Weapons cost around $15.00, though there is no $15.00 purchase option. As a whole, this game is pretty darn expensive if you want to buy a lot of things. A bonus to buying is that they’ll give you more slots and a reactor (to power up the item) with it. I don’t know if it’s worth it or not.
Now, I think making it take so annoyingly long to get anything other than your starting gear is bad. It pretty much means you’re going to have to buy things, or go many days without anything new to play with. That means you need to really like the gameplay to get to the planets with stuff, and then grind until you get the drops you need.
Can you do that? Well, that depends on you. I haven’t made up my mind fully yet, but I am getting tired of my same stuff over and over. There are a few weapons you can buy just for earning in-game credits, but not many. The grind is real, and how much that detracts from the gameplay is up to you. This game runs on being cool and awesome, and overall, it succeeds for a while.
It’s bobsled time.